Friday, 9 October 2015

A fresh new start to our blogs

We're going to lay our cards on the table.  We've been prevaricating.  It's taken a while for us to get our heads around this particular blog about fresh new starts.  There was an excellent tip given to us by a sublime speaker that in any good story there should be a beginning a middle and an end.  Taking that advice on board let's kick off with...

Once upon a time...
There was a highly successful television company who scanned their environment like every good company should do and realised there was a big problem heading their way.  It wasn’t a problem that hadn’t arisen before, or one that they’d not responded to before but this time there was something different in the air. This company had a great reputation in the industry and its output had improved so that its customers, the viewers and advertisers, were relatively content with their lot.  A major stakeholder though had different ideas. It wanted, or so the TV company thought, to completely change the funding model and thus the Directors hunkered down to consider a bold, radical plan.

After 33 years they would change their on-screen identity.

The change caused furore.  Some people described it as utterly confusing whilst others called it brave and bizarre.  Most wondered why they had done it.

Yes, you’ve guessed it.  It’s the Channel 4 rebrand.

Creativity takes centre stage

The Channel 4 in-house creative agency took three years to come up with something that would prove that Channel 4 wasn’t like any other TV company.  It was dynamic, bold and could take risks. They wanted to shout out to government, who once again is talking about privatisation that the new identity depicted a “public service remit focussed on innovation, diversity and taking creative risks.”

We’re doing what you want us to do it seems to say, so leave us alone.

Is it the correct response to a threat?  The viewers certainly don’t seem to think so.  An iconic brand which gives instant recognition and generates unconscious emotions of satisfaction, quality and yes, ownership has been thrown out.  Channel 4 now have to start from scratch and make new connections with their viewers and advertisers.  What central government thinks about it is harder to discern.

A rebranding disaster?
It reminds us of the arguments for and against the branding for London 2012.  Few liked the logo when it was launched but people got used to it and it seemed to work with multi-platform use.  Channel 4’s new logo will only be used for TV viewers however and one wonders whether this will go down the route of the BA rebrand of their tailfins, and quietly be forgotten.   

At the moment there’s no end to this story.  It’s a waiting game as to whether the rebranding works both in terms of viewer adjustment to the ‘brave new world’ and government’s acceptance of the status quo.  What it illustrates however is the difficulties associated with any change.

Quite rightly Channel 4 have scanned their environment, looked at the risks incumbent within that environment and responded.  Whether that response will have the desired effect is yet to be seen.

It’s a waiting game.   
Change is complex 

What else can be done to make the outcome more certain?  There will obviously be the back-room discussions to which we’re not party but we suspect that will have far more influence on the privatisation argument than a new logo.  Perhaps what’s more interesting for us is the effect this rebranding will have on the culture of the organisation, its employees, supplier and customers.  

But that conversation is for another time.  Over the coming months we’ll be posting blogs that will give you insights into the wonderful complexity that is change.  We hope that you’ll enjoy that journey with us.  

If you want to find out more about how mtc2 ltd can help you manage change get in touch through our website or email

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